A walk through Wayne County farmer Lance Lange’s pastures and fields shows the area’s dire need for moisture.

The last real rainfall there—if you can call it that—was just 0.6 of an inch on July 25. Before that, it was a 4-inch rain in June.

“June 15 we had the best potential for a crop,” he said. “We had a great start.”

He’s measured about 6 inches of moisture since crops were planted April 23. In areas to the south and east, it’s even worse, he says.

This year Lange estimates that his soybeans will yield just 15 bushels per acre. Some plants show lots of pods, though not filled. Other plants show pods that have already been aborted.

 He’s hoping his corn crop will average 130 bushels per acre. But colors and conditions of his crops ...